UAS in Disaster Management: Real-time videos for emergency relief

UAS in Disaster Management: Real-time videos for emergency relief


Taking disaster management to the next level, a Taiwanese company embedded GIS layers into real-time UAV videos for improved analysis

In the recent years, the world has seen many natural disasters due to climate change, making applications of disaster mitigation and relief increasingly important. UAS applications have always been based on monitoring and mapping. Today, installing cameras on UAS to get live videos is considered insufficient. Users now demand more applications, such as real-time integration with geo-data and location maps, or integration of UAS full motion live video with 3D GIS server. These new applications will enable authorities to compare the situation on site, prior and post disaster. These features are becoming essential for disaster prevention and rescue systems. One of the most important components of modern UAS is how to let real-time video become one of GIS layers and let the system provide query and analysis applications.

First step
Th ree years ago, Water Resources Agency in Taiwan looked for a GIS company to integrate UAS and PilotGaea Universe — a Web 3D GIS software — to develop real-time rendering of UAS full motion video on 3D GIS platform with flight position and orientation system. At the beginning, the system provides visual comparison by split- display of UAV real-time video and 3D GIS simulated landscape. Th is was the first step application in disaster prevention.

A year later, at the request of the academia Sonica in Taiwan to allow users to freely operate the viewport on the web 3D GIS system, UAS flight simulation system began coverage of synchronised video image displayed on the system. Th rough the integration of UAV full motion video images and the features of 3D GIS, users were able to watch different viewports to observe sync images.

By incorporating PilotGaea GISDK 3D, the system allows real-time rendering of UAV full motion video on 3D GIS platform with flight position and orientation. Th is is not only UAV flight simulations, but also a flexible flight information display system, allowing the overlaying of UAS video with GIS simulated landscape and GIS data and in turn making it possible to perform instant object attribute query, spatial analysis, and strategic decisions during emergency situations.

Benefits to the people
In this case study, PilotGaea Technologies used the characteristics of GIS layers overlay, rendering UAS camera and terrain in the scene. Besides marking the image location, it can also be used to do real-time query, analysis and observing certain area of interest. For instance, when disaster occurs, the system will observe and mark the location where people need to be saved. Rescue team will go to the marked location on the map for the rescue operations. Th is is the first system to provide query feature and disaster assessment and is the best decision-support system with UAS. It also attracted the attention of the authorities of the Central Academy of Military Studies. Last year, the Chinese Academy of Sciences sophisticated the system further and invited PilotGaea and several related manufacturers to form a coalition.


Benefits to the government
The most effective outcome of integrating UAS and 3D GIS platform is when the system overlays vector geo-data with attributes and the live video images become one of the layers. The system instantly becomes the most immediate disaster decision analysis support system because these layers and attributes can be used to do both, the query and the analysis.

Future prospects
Although Taiwan does not frequently need UAV instant images for disaster relief, this emergency operations system gained high degree of recognition by the government. It shall be a powerful system for disaster relief, especially against typhoons which strike Taiwan every year.